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Harvey Milk Day marks birthday of murdered gay rights legend

Joseph McCormick May 22, 2016

Today marks Harvey Milk Day, a celebration of the life of the murdered gay rights activist on what would have been his 86th birthday.

California in 2009 acted to dedicate 22 May ‘Harvey Milk Day’, following a wave of publicity for the late activist. Hundreds around the globe have taken to social media to celebrate the day, which takes place on his birthday.

Harvey Milk social media image

Milk was posthumously inducted into the California Hall of Fame after being portrayed by Sean Penn in the film Milk, and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama back in 2014.

A gathering took place at the White House to officially launch a range of stamps featuring late gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Arnold Schwarzenegger denied a request to honour Milk’s birthday in 2008, suggesting honours were better made at the local level for the state supervisor, who was assassinated in 1978,.

Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, winning a post on the Board of Supervisors as a result of changes in the social makeup of San Francisco after three unsuccessful attempts to gain office.

Having finally been elected in 1977, Milk only held his position for 11 months before being assassinated by Dan White, a former colleague who had lost his position in city administration.

Milk has been described as a martyr for gay rights and a visionary. Penn received a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Milk.

Gay Mormon lead singer of Neon Trees Tyler Glenn performed this month as a street in the heart of Mormon country was named after Milk.

LGBT rights group Equality Utah spearheaded the proposal to rename 900 South as ‘Harvey Milk Boulevard’.

Tyler Glenn

Last month the city council voted unanimously to rename the street.

The street is but a stones throw away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church), which remains opposed to gay rights, despite claims that it is otherwise.

More: Harvey Milk, harvey milk day

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